he checked out fine at the vet... said while unusual, it's not unheard of for shelter dogs to have pee anxiety/adjustment issues for the first month and since he is otherwise fine to just give it a few more weeks.
he really peed in the park on a pile of leaves yesterday afternoon for the first time and was praised so loudly everyone else around me was laughing...
but then peed on the rug in my apartment lobby again this morning. at least he's not too shy to pee in front of my anymore and thank goodness i live in a very pet friendly building!
so we'll keep working on it! and anyone else ever adopts a basenji mix from the shelter and also has this issue you'll know you're not the only one!
Thank you so much for all the comments! It’s helpful to know that there are others out there with quirky pee habits also...
Yes, I always leave fresh water available, but outside the crate. I personally watch him drink 3- 4 times a day though may be more, I am assuming the day care makes water available as well although I could certainly ask to make sure. I also roughly approximate the volume he “needs” by weight and I know he is probably getting that but I will try measuring exactly. And I could try flavoring more to see if he drinks more. He is crated for about 6-8 hours overnight, and 1-2 h at a time during the day for potty training purposes only if I need to step away and do errands. Otherwise he can go drink whenever, play or snooze next to me, etc, I just don’t trust him to have free reign otherwise yet (he will either chew/swallow something or have an accident otherwise, I’ve had to fish out a few pieces of garbage on walks). We go outside every 2-3h except for when sleeping. I’ll cut off two hours before bedtime unless we’ve had a lot of activity, in which case I don’t necessarily. I mix water with his food also to encourage drinking. Otherwise his nose is always wet and skin nice and taut, so I am assuming he is not dehydrated. But yes, I have a vet appointment in the next few days as well.
If we are in the park, it’s a little easier to let him roam on a 6 foot leash without watching him all the time but unfortunately on busy city streets that’s not always possible. I am careful to look for “cues” as well on our walks as well, for pooping it’s been more obvious squatting, so I will stop everything and shower praise (and a treat if I have it) within a minute after (sometimes it’s hard to do it right after if he poops in the middle of a busy city street and I’m trying to body block the area to avoid the ire of others, plus keep him from wandering more than 3 feet away and clean). Just haven’t had a chance to catch him the middle of a pee outside yet to do so! And unfortunately I don’t think the poop praise generalizes to all elimination praise. But I’m hoping a full weekend dedicated to just watching for this will help. And he seems inclined to do things as much for for praise as for treats (he’s not terribly food motivated), so as we continue to bond I’m hoping my approval will start meaning more to him as well.
The longer walk/jogs are honestly as much to burn off some energy as much as anything else. And we both enjoy them as fun/bonding time so will probably keep some of them, although I agree that it probably isn’t contributing in any positive or negative way to the potty training itself. I live in NYC so Central Park is the closest to “woods” we get, but we enjoy romping through there as well so we’ll keep that going too.
We are less than a week out from adoption... so hoping we start seeing more improvements soon as he adjusts. It’s already amazing to see how much more comfortable he is with me (snuggling to nap, short jogging, enjoying easy agility tasks in the park- scrambling up rock hills, starting to learn commands etc, less startled when meeting other new dogs etc)
Again, thanks for the comments and suggestions. If anyone has other thoughts would love to hear them. Cheers!
New rescue dog mom here, likely to a Basenji mix who is named Pedro.
(I was told that it was a terrier mix but a lot of its qualities make me think its more Basenji- stretches like a yogi, licks himself clean, tan/white color, furrowed brow and bat ears, super agile and will canter like a horse at faster runs, sits/squats to pee and poop. The only thing that is less so is the fact that he is less "sight hound" but has to sniff EVERYTHING.)
He is 6 months old and sweet as can be, if a little timid (but has not shown any signs of aggression with fear, just very wary of new things and can be slow to warm to new people and dogs). Just a few days into adoption he already enjoys walking/jogging with me and snuggling in the evenings, starting to learn "sit", "down", etc.
However, housebreaking has been a bit of a bear. I was told he didn't have daily accidents at the shelter, but still made mistakes here and there. For the most part he has been pretty good about pooping outside.
When it comes to peeing though, I am baffled.........Pedro will hold his pee for 10, 12, even 14 hours!!!
This is despite walking him more than 4-5 times per day, with at least 2 of those walks being 30-60 minutes and the rest at least 10-15 minutes. Yesterday he had an accident inside once at 530am (I get up early for work and made the mistake of letting him wander around off leash after a meal, even though I was watching and he was with me the whole time), then peed once at doggie daycare at 1 pm afternoon then literally did not pee for 18 hours afterwards (although he did poop), despite the fact that I walked him twice in the evening, for over an hour this morning (in all kinds of environments-- busy city street, quiet wooded park... on grass, gravel, rock hills...)... and then again for 20 minutes right after feeding. And then he finally peed in the stairwell right as he was walking into day care.
Here are all the things we've tried:
- Going out every 2-3 hours with crating in or very close supervision in between and going out at the slightest sign of sniffing or circling. And we go straight outside if he whines in the crate for more than 3 minutes continuously (ie it doesn't seem like a "hey why are you ignoring me" cry)
- Trying different environments and surfaces (at first we thought it might be anxiety about city streets since he's a bit shy... but he had no problem starting a poop in the middle of a crosswalk with oncoming traffic yesterday... sigh)
- Lots of praise and/or treats with the poops (I personally have yet to see him pee outside but I'm sure the dogsitter is praising him on the occasional walk pees he's seen)
- Strict feeding schedule (sometimes the timing is off by an hour or two, but gets fed twice a day and access to fresh water 4-5 times a day... nose always seems wet and skin taut so doesn't seem like he's dehydrated)
- Trying to interrupt accidents (I will say "hey!" or "no!" and try to pick him up into the bathtub to finish there... then immediately take him out after... but usually he will just keep peeing despite my attempts then continue to play outside without any additional elimination). I don't have enzyme spray yet but clean up right after, and he has not had accidents in the same spots yet. He has squatted to pee during the 2 accidents i've witnessed so I don't necessarily think he is trying to "mark"
He has not soiled his crate, so I guess that's the only thing working in our favor. And most of the time, he will willingly go into his crate (often voluntarily goes there to relax after eating or a busy day at daycare, and/or easily goes in with a treat to coax. Rarely do I have to gently guide him by his collar, but I have NEVER had to pick him up or force him in so far and he doesn't seem anxious about it so he seems to be mostly fine with it. The only time he whines is if he feels like he is lonely and bored-- ie I am in another room and he is not tired enough to sleep-- but even that will often pass after a few minutes with the crate covered).
He also doesn't seem uncomfortable when peeing, so I don't think he has a UTI or other health issue, although I'm certainly worried he's going to give himself one at this rate.
My next step is to spend a weekend where he is either crated (mostly) or umbilical corded to me and the rest of the time outside for 48 hours. i assume at some point he will pee outside and I will be on hand to shower praise and treats lavishly to start the positive reinforcement. But it is really tough to "catch" that moment when I have to work and he only pees once or twice a day. Unfortunately I don't have any vacation coming up and can't spend a week just doing the above.
Also we haven't had a really rainy day yet, but I'm worried how those days as well as the cold upcoming winter months are going to go when neither of us will necessarily want to spend 4-6+ hours outside a day.
If the strict weekend crating technique doesn't work.... any other thoughts???
I suppose the two other factors to take into account are that I am first-time dog owner (have had small pets before, and work daily with young children... but I find the techniques I use on my puppy work well on children and vice versa thus far ) and that he is spending a lot of time at doggy daycare right now (but he always seems happy when I pick him up, he is learning to socialize well with the other pups, so I don't think there's any concern for more anxiety there... and I have asked my sitter to start being more rigorous about crating for short stints for most non-outside time as well)
Thanks so much in advance from a new worried dog-mom!